The Squacco Heron, Ardeola ralloides is an Old World heron, closely related to (and sharing a genus with) the eastern pond-herons.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 01

 It shares the common characteristic of white flight feathers which fold away on landing to leave a cryptically coloured bird, well suited to its preferred reedy habitat.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 05

The bill is usually greeny-yellow, tipped dark, but takes on a surprising blue for breeding, contrasting with the green skin around the eye.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 02

Also look for the classic Ardeidae affectation of head plumes to impress a potential mate.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 04

The stronghold for the Squacco Heron is Africa, but it will often be seen in countries north of the Mediterannean Sea, even wandering as far as the UK on occasion.

JNB 16Jan15 Squacco Heron 03


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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.